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"Fighting With Fires" is a periodic training feedback bulletin published by CALL for the Operations Group Fire Support Division Observers/Controllers at the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, CA. This bulletin provides recent fire support trends, both positive and negative, which have been observed during NTC training rotations. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be construed as doctrine. "Fighting with Fires" content does not necessarily reflect the U.S. Army's position. This bulletin is an informal means of sharing tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) which emerge as BLUFOR units fight with fires during simulated combat operations.

Greetings from the Wolf Team at Mojavia! This is NTC's third "Fighting with Fires" newsletter, and my first since arriving at the Fire Support Training Division. I hope you were able to review and benefit from the information contained in our two previous issues. My goal is to routinely get our observations out to the field and in the hands of warfighters to improve our Army's future performance.

The Fire Support trainers have already noted improvements in several areas throughout recent rotations. These include an improved FA battalion orders process, a reduction in firing incidents, and a clearer understanding of the commander's guidance for fire support.

These improvements are certainly encouraging, and are an indication that good TTPs are trained at Home Station. However, areas that player units still have difficulty with during their rotation at NTC include close air support planning and execution, integrating the TF FSO into the TF staff, and most importantly, observer planning and execution. Training at Home Station must continue to pursue the maneuver commander's guidance for fire support in terms of task and purpose. Units must be able to translate fire support requirements into an understood scheme of fires at all levels and include a detailed observation plan that includes both brigade and task force observers.

The NTC experience should expand on the brigade's ability to deliver effective indirect fires--suppressing the enemy versus killing the enemy. Understanding the requirements versus the guidance is tough. There are many players across the brigade combat team, not just fire supporters, which play key roles. Some questions that still must be asked to improve overall effectiveness on the battlefield:

  • What does the commander want fires to do?

  • How long will it take to suppress versus kill?

  • What is the ammunition requirement to suppress versus kill?

  • Does the observation plan support accurate target location to catch enemy vehicles in their holes?

  • Are we integrating IPB products for targeting and OPs?

  • Does the observer have a complete understanding of his target responsibilities (task and purpose) to execute the mission?

  • Are we battle-tracking to ensure the observer has identified the right target (formation) at the right time?

  • Can the observer see the effects of the mission and ensure the intended effects are achieved?

Your challenge is to work on the development of commander's guidance to develop a clear, concise, and understood scheme of fires. Remember, even an excellent fire support plan will fail without well-rehearsed observers positioned correctly to execute the plan.

I hope the fire support community and our maneuver battalions throughout the world find this newsletter helpful. We welcome any and all feedback concerning the information contained in the newsletter. Please call, write or fax any input to help us improve the newsletter, or to make requests for future articles.

Lieutenant Colonel, Field Artillery
Senior Fire Support Combat Trainer

Understanding Our Business: Synchronizing Fires and Maneuver

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